The Fiction of Philip Kaveny
She only smiled and pulled a small obsidian mirror from her cloak. Ivan was drawn to it and then it started to burn with a gold blue flame. Ivan rubbed his eyes and wondered if he was going mad and then he a saw a great gate and walls. He saw ships rowed by many banks of rowers. They were not freemen like Vikings; rather, they were chained three to an oar. Then he saw an image of a locket which opened to him. Finally he saw the face of a woman that looks different from any of the Northern princess that chased after him. Her lips were purple like the first flowers of spring. Her cheekbone were not high, and yet her, skin was white as Ivory.
“Go south young fool; she is your destiny. Find your future away from this frozen corner of hell. Take this needle place it in a cork let it float in a bowl of water and it will show true south. Go south. Till you find the great gate of Ishmar. Leave now and tell no one. Before you die you may find out how large the world is”
Ivan looked like that two year old again and said in and said in an almost plaintiff childlike voice. “How large is the world how will I go south?”
Orfa said to him,
“In my mind and in my sprit i have been to the ends of the world. Walk south till you find the first small trickle of water, that water will branch into other waters and finally into terrible marsh. Many have died there and some say terrible sprits and monsters dwell there, but you must cross them to get to Ishmar. “
In all her years with Ivan she had prepared him for a trip which was beyond the scope of his northern mind. He had been trained in all the arts of survival. Though they bored him he took to them as natural dancer takes to movement.
It was written latter that Ivan Left for the south in the
Late spring of 979 when the midnight sun hung around the edge of the horizon with only what he could carry in his small backpack.Ivan walked to the sentry who stood in front of the door to the whales belly mead hall and watched his father sleep. He wondered if he would ever see Igor or Ivan Bjorn or Sven. He walked away from everything that he ne wondered what he would see next. It did seem like a frozen corner of hell and yet he felt sadness at leaving.
Ivan’s longs legs carried him south easily and his made size and grace did not an attractive mark to those robbers who hung at the edge of his world. Ivan was able to cover almost a league a day so that by the end of the second fortnight Ivan came to the first trickle of the water he was looking for. Ivan found a small white flat bottom skiff made from skins around a frame work of whale bone. Now Ivan could cover in one day what it took him a week of walking.
Rivers flowed into others they narrowed and widened. Ivan had a small fish line and to lose no time he ate them raw. He slept lightly with one eye open. But he could not stop himself from dreaming. In his dreams he saw vivid colors and great gales of black smoke spewing forth volcanoes. Rivers of glowing lava flowed into and Ice cold northern ocean. Then while he was in that place that borders dreamland he saw her face the face of the woman in the locket against. He thought he saw large dark reptilian shapes in his vision but as his eyes opened farther he saw only the quiet water slowly flowing around him.
After the second fortnight Ivan had paddled through the swamps. He came to settlement that had the look of a military outpost. Ivan approached the wooden stockade and heard the guardsmen’s.
“Who goes there what is your business” I seek only company and some good wine. My business is in the south.” Answered Ivan,
The guardsmen bade he might enter then directed Ivan to an Inn where he sought some company.
He asked the Innkeeper the way to Ishmar. And the room fell to a hush.
” Did that young fool ask the way to Ishmar”
“No I think he asked for the road to hell”
“Perhaps we misunderstood you. You do not look like a galley slave. But the Captain of the guard would take pleasure in a man as young and beautiful as you”
Ivan only softly smiled.
“Suffer me not your fool’s jest I am no one to jest with and I am not here for a Brawl”
One of the customers differed from the rest he looked Ivan in the eye and asked.
“What do you seek in Ishmar Youngman? Ishmar rules the southern world and commands the great gate. What do you seek in that city?”
Ivan answered “Kismet”